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IVF After My PCOS Diagnosis: Lindsay's Story
Pregnancy

IVF After My PCOS Diagnosis: Lindsay's Story

As part of Prima's interview series"Fertility Journeys Beyond the Clipboard", guided by Jenni Quilter, we hear from Lindsay, a 36 year old social worker whose fertility journey started when she was first diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

read time
6 minutes

 

“Everybody’s journey is going to be very different, even though we’re all going through the same thing.”  

 

When I was younger, I knew I had some hormonal issues–my cycles were often not regular–and I guessed I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). But when I brought it up with my gynecologists–to whom I’d go for a pap smear or the pill–they’d brush off my concerns, and tell me to come back for a hormonal panel when I wanted to get pregnant. After I got married in 2019 and decided to start a family, I was then told–even after a panel that confirmed PCOS–to “try” for a year before doing anything else. I ended up making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist: I just sensed I needed to talk with someone who was only thinking a lot about how I could get pregnant, rather than someone focused more broadly on reproductive health. Then, even though I had accurately guessed what was going on with my body, those appointments and tests were still a lot to absorb. It’s just a huge amount of information all at once, and part of me wondered why there’s this strange delay when it comes to this knowledge–why for a long time, we know nothing, and then all of a sudden we know so much. The transition felt intense.

When I started IVF, time seemed to go very slowly, and then it seemed to go very fast. 

At the beginning of the process, you’re in a huge hurry. You just feel like you do not have the time to do anything but try and do everything all at once. But the insurance company is in no hurry, and wants you to to do IUIs that you know won’t work, and there’s a wait time of 2 months to even see an IVF doctor…it’s just a lot of waiting around, and you’re worried that if you just “trust the process,” you won’t actually be advocating for yourself because there’s this huge internal drive to just get it done. When I started IVF, time seemed to go very slowly, and then it seemed to go very fast. I did not expect it to work at first, but I fell pregnant with the first implantation. After my son was born, I thought, well, I can’t expect it to work so quickly with a second pregnancy, so I’ll start sooner rather than later, but it worked the first time round again. The second embryo was from the first retrieval, so I have been very lucky. I will say now, having gone through my explanations and pregnancies, that I could have trusted the process more. 

The first time around, when I was going for blood work one day, one of my friends was walking out of the same building that I was walking into, and we had this Ah Ha! moment. We didn’t know that we were each going through it. I wouldn’t say I was trying to hide the news, but this kind of information is still hard to share. It also involves your partner or husband, and I think there’s some protectiveness about relationships. Maybe we just don’t generally share about failure. But it’s actually really important to talk about it. One of my other friends had experienced three miscarriages in a year, and I encouraged her to go to the same clinic. The woman I bumped into, and my other friend–we all ended up having our firstborns within three months of each other. 

I would like to have four children, but I’ve had one C-section, am about to have another, and so I’ll be happy with what my body can do–if it’s just two, then that’s OK. As a social worker, I feel pretty open-minded about what family can be, and I think there’s a lot of value in letting go of the idea of a perfect pregnancy and what family is supposed to be, and focusing instead on what is

 

 

March 2024  
Written by Jenni Quilter. Jenni Quilter teaches at New York University. Her most recent books are Hatching: Experiments in Motherhood and Technology and New York School Painters & Poets: Neon in Daylight, for which she was a finalist for the 2014 AICA Award for Best Criticism. She has written for the Los Angeles Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement (London), Poetry Review, and the London Review of Books.

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